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Grand-prize belt for Anaconda hot dog eating contest designed by Butte leather artist

Gilmore McLean shows off her latest WWE-inspired leather belt
Posted at 6:47 PM, Jul 02, 2024

ANACONDA — Have you ever dreamed of being a champion? Well, on the Fourth of July, if you can shove more hot dogs in your face than the other participants at the Dogs For Dogs hot dog eating competition, a handmade WWE-inspired championship belt could be yours. And it’s all for a good cause.

"What I love about leather tooling is that I use all the traditional techniques but as you will see I’m doing weird, weird stuff," says Gilmore McLean as she sits down at her bench to finish up the flashy belt for the contest at Smelter City Brewing.

McLean is the artist behind the WWE-inspired hot dog eating contest championship belt that will be snagged by the winner on Independence Day. She says she likes the idea of using this quintessential Western art form to create surprising new designs.

Gilmore McLean shows off her latest WWE-inspired leather belt

"I like to use old techniques to create new designs and kind of breathe some life back into leather work because it’s kind of become stale and boring and repetitive over the last, you know, 70 years," says McLean.

Well, what better way to juice things up than to create a giant belt featuring America’s favorite barbecue food? The jet-black belt with red lettering and gold embellishments surrounding a hot dog complete with condiments gleams as she rotates the centerpiece.

McLean uses American-made oak-tanned cow leather and with the use of quality materials and one-of-a-kind designs, Smelter City Brewing couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with her.

"Last year we bought a belt online and that was fine, but art’s important and knowing somebody that can do amazing craftwork like this, it’s—you don’t pass up that opportunity," says Luke Carlson, the owner of Smelter City Brewing.

"It’s gonna be such a silly fun crazy thing that it really deserves a silly, fun, crazy championship belt," says McLean.

The event takes place at 1 p.m. on July 4 and costs $25 to enter. Carlson says entries will be accepted the day of the event and the winner takes home the belt and a lifetime mug club prize from the brewery.

Proceeds from the Dogs for Dogs hot dog eating contest will be donated to Pintler Pets animal shelter.